How to Become a Professional Electrical Engineer (Philippines)?
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In this post, I will discuss my experience and share some tips with you on my journey on becoming a Professional Electrical Engineer (PEE) in the Philippines. If you are not from the Philippines, I do apologize but this post may not be of interest to you.
If you are considering to become one, my help to you is to look at my Technical Engineering Report. It’s the one I submitted to the Board of Electrical Engineering in September 2011. My TER is not in any way perfect but I think you might get some little things from there. It may be a little bit older and the board may, nowadays, require more from you. This is based on what I heard recently. However, the engineering concept is the same and doesn’t change. There may be some sections that the board may ask you to include which I may not have covered.
I graduated from Bicol University in March 2006 and subsequently took the April 2006 Registered Electrical Engineer’s Board Exam and landed 4th Place. I then work for Fujitsu Philippines in Laguna for about 8 months, moved to Meralco in Alabang and worked for about 5 months and then joined Fluor Philippines from September 2007 to October 2012. In November 2012, my wife and I moved to Canada for work and subsequently became permanent residents in 2014 and then became Canadian citizens in 2018. I am now working in the United States for Clean Power projects as a substation designer.
Most of my work experience is in the design and engineering for industrial (Oil & Gas, Petrochemicals) and now I changed industry to work in the utility power doing substation engineering design. I’d like to mention this because I think this has some huge help in my journey to becoming a PEE at a younger age of 27 years old. In the Philippines, we normally see PEE applicants to be in their 30’s and above. This probably mainly due to busy life, the lack of qualifying project experience (which is 1MVA or greater) and the knowledge to write the Technical Engineering Report (TER).
I was just probably lucky (..and persistent) to have the right combinations at an earlier time which is why I took the plunge to challenge the exam.
Why Become a PEE
If you are a Registered Electrical Engineer (REE) in the Philippines, I believe that eventually becoming a PEE is a goal that you may want to consider to progress in your career, practice independently, or you simply wanted to complete your journey and prove to yourself that you have what it takes to become a PEE. It has somewhat become a pride among peers to complete this stage to become a recognized engineer in the organization.
I’d like to mention this right now that if someone is not a PEE, it does not in any way diminish their technical competence and in the same way becoming a PEE doesn’t mean I know more than you. This is a moot point of discussion, to be honest, which is why I say this so that others should not take offense. In fact, I’d say that becoming a PEE is a mere choice for the individual and I know many who are not PEEs, because they chose not to become one or they are just busy or simply located abroad which is why it’s not logical to become one, but who are very good engineers that I worked with and look up to.
Qualifications to Become a PEE
Below are the qualifications to becoming a PEE based on RA 7920:
Sec. 16. Qualifications of Applicant for Registration as Professional Electrical Engineer. – Any person applying for registration as professional electrical engineer shall establish to the satisfaction of the Board that on or before the date of registration, he possesses the following qualifications:
(a) He is a citizen of the Philippines;
(b) He is of good reputation with high moral values;
(c) He has not been finally convicted by the court of an offense involving moral turpitude;
(d) He is a holder of the degree of Bachelor of Science in Electric Engineering (BSEE) from a university, school, college, academy or institute duly constituted, recognized and accredited by the Philippine government; and
(e) He is a registered electrical engineer with valid certificate of registration and professional license and with four (4) years or more of active practice reckoned from the date of his registration as a registered electrical engineer.
You need at least 4 years experience to apply for the PEE exam. This is exactly what I did. Once I completed 4 years experience in 2010, I started inquiring about the process of registering for the exam. The exam and preparation for the TER can take you several months and maybe over a year depending how fast you are determined to complete it and the circumstances in your life.
So in April 2011, I had my preliminary interview with the board. I then took about 2 months to write the TER and then presented it by September and subsequently given the certificate of upgrade to become a PEE.
Earlier I mentioned that being a designer or design engineer is probably the best work experience for you to have early on if you want to become a PEE. In my opinion this is due to the following:
Exposure to large projects – Working for design firms, especially international companies, will undoubtedly give you the chance to work on large projects. This will easily help you comply the requirement of being involved in a project of at least 1MVA in size. However, if this is not the case for you, say you are in maintenance or academe, what you can do is to find a design firm and become a part-time employee so that you can get the experience. It takes more effort but if you really want it, you can make it.
Knowledge in Design – It’s a no brainier. Working for design firms will give you knowledge in electrical engineering design. And because the TER that you will write is basically a design that includes calculations then you are basically just writing what you did at work. This is my case. I was doing power systems studies modelling and report for large industrial projects in my job. It’s therefore logical for me to use that same project as the subject of my TER. My TER topic was “Power Systems Design of Super Absorbent Polymer Plant in Al-Jubail, KSA”. So I basically just wrote in paper what I did at work, that is why it only took me two (2) months to complete my TER because I know the ins and outs of the project. Although in the office I used ETAP software for my job, in writing the TER I have to do manual calculations. This is to prove to the board that you in fact know the basics.
Opportunities to work with PEEs – As you know, that one of the application requirements is having three (3) PEEs to be your TER adviser. This is to help you in crafting your TER and certify that you are the one who wrote it. Working for big design firms often will give you easy access to these PEEs.
As I’ve said, if you are not into design engineering experience, don’t worry. There are ways for you to make this happen.
Technical Knowledge & Training
If you are younger, most of the time, the work experience will not give you the required knowledge to write the TER. Since most of us will start in the bottom from lighting design to cable layouts, etc. All these are important in our profession but writing the TER most of the time requires you to have knowledge of short circuit calculations analysis, power flow analysis, motor starting analysis, harmonics analysis and now even includes arc flash analysis from what I’ve heard. This type of jobs are often done by senior engineers.
To that end, you need a specialized training in the Power Systems Design and Protective Relaying. I was fortunate that my company back then sponsored this training for me just several months before I applied for my PEE exam. My knowledge of the subject is fresh and coupled with my actual job experience made it easy for me to complete my report.
HOW TO BECOME A PEE – This is the presentation from the Board of Electrical Engineering Philippines. It captures all the information you need to know regarding the application process. Rather than extracting the same information and writing in the post to bore you, just download it and read it carefully.
Technical Engineering Report Sample – This is the copy of my TER submitted September 2011.